Force juggernaut rolls on in South Africa
May 10, 2014
Force winger Nick Cummins scored one of the easier tries of his career
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Rock solid defence and a couple of breakout tries have secured Western Force a drought breaking 23-16 win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. The struggling Cheetahs won about two thirds of possession, but the Force converted two turnovers into long distance tries and had their own line crossed just once.
The Perth-based franchise's seventh win of the season lifted them to fourth on the ladder. It moved them up to second in the Australian conference, three points behind the pace-setting Brumbies and above the New South Wales Waratahs, who had the bye.
Both of the Force's tries to fullback Jayden Hayward and winger Nick Cummins came after the visitors forced turnovers deep inside their own half.
They spent much of the second half camped in their own territory but the Cheetahs' only try came when the Force were down to 14 men, with captain and flanker Matt Hodgson in the sin bin for a breakdown infringement.
"It's always tough to win away, especially here in Bloemfontein," said man-of-the-match Hodgson after his side broke a five-match losing streak in South Africa. "We knew we had to start fast and to get a good result was outstanding. It's a big travel block for us, so to start with a win is good."
The Force's push for the finals gathered momentum with victory over the Cheetahs (video available in Australia only)
The Force led 16-6 at the break after dominating in the scrum and forcing turnovers at the breakdown. Hayward scored the only try of the first half when he stayed alive after assisting in a breakout from his own 22 following a steal by Hodgson.
The Cheetahs only try came when No.8 Boom Prinsloo went over from a forward drive shortly after Hodgson was binned early in the second half. The conversion cut the deficit to three but the Force restored their double-digit advantage with a try to Cummins following a Hayward intercept and a conversion to fly-half and former Cheetahs back Sias Ebersohn, who kicked five from five for a 13-point haul.
The Force had a narrow escape in the 71st minute when Cheetahs prop Coenie Oosthuizen appeared to plant there ball on the line, but he was adjudged to have been stopped short and then rolled the ball forward. Substitute back Elgar Watts was then stopped just short of the Force line.